Wisconsin republicans float a permit-to-carry bill that could sabotage true constitutional concealed carry, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory
- Two concealed carry bills to be introduced – a permit/licensing bill and Constitutional Concealed Carry (no permit)
- Permit bills contain Department of Justice Gun Owner Registration Lists for Licensees (gun owner registration, the NRA does NOT mention this detail)
- Serious threat that permit bills will override Constitutional Carry, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory
- Cosponsors needed now for Constitutional Carry bill (LRB-2007/1)
- Public hearings scheduled for next week
Madison, Wis. – On Wednesday, May 4, 2011 Wisconsin state republicans leaked three Legislative Reference Bureau drafts of concealed carry legislation that quickly began making the rounds among gun activists on the Internet. The bill drafts have not been introduced, which suggests they may have been released simultaneously to “test the wind.”
In an alert just released by NRA, they claim that “The second is a “shall issue” carry license bill that allows Wisconsinites to obtain a license from the state Department of Justice (DOJ) in order to carry a concealed weapon. This license bill offers some additional benefits. These include the ability to use the license to carry a concealed weapon in many other states while traveling and the ability to carry concealed weapons in school zones (1000-foot area surrounding school grounds).”
Aside from the “additional benefits” NRA is using to sell the license bill, it is not clear if passage of the permit bill will statutorily override a simple removal of the ban on carrying concealed weapons without a license as proposed in the Constitutional Carry bill draft.
The NRA also relabeled Constitutional Carry as “permit-less carry,” a detraction from the unified terminology understood by gun owners. Further, the NRA’s Bill Summary does not clarify the issue of whether passage of the permit bill will stop Constitutional Carry in its tracks, or co-exist with it. This fact will no doubt not be welcomed news by the “NRA can do no wrong” crowd, but anyone assessing the situation honestly will want to watch this legislative sleight of hand very closely — once a permit-based weapons bureaucracy is built, tearing it down again and restoring true right-to-carry (Constitutional Carry or, Vermont-Style Carry) will be an even harder uphill battle.
Personal Protection Act Resurrected with Same Old Gun Owner Registration Lists
With state politicians lobbing crumbs at them, gun owners are now outraged that republicans who claim to be pro-gun would undermine Constitutional Carry with a permit bill.
But true to form, big government republicans not only resurrected a license-to-carry bill when no one wants one, but they also brought back the requirement to create a computerized database of concealed carry licensees, as was the case in past bills drafted under the specter of the Jim Doyle regime.
And while the institutional gun lobby has in the past tried to deny any such lists were in the bills, these lists would toss gun owners into a law enforcement registration database that could easily be used to place them on unconstitutional watch lists, or in times of crisis provide federal troops a shopping list of homes to target for door-to-door gun confiscations.
The permit draft released says it “Requires DOJ to keep a list of licensees but specifies that DOJ may provide information from that list regarding a specific licensee only to law enforcement agencies and only in certain circumstances,” a specification not too many gun owners find comforting.
“I thought gun owners were opposed to gun owner registration lists,” said WGO Executive Director Corey Graff. “Why are republicans insulting us with an outrageous bill that will force us into a criminal database simply for exercising our inalienable right to bear arms?
“Why do republicans keep pushing gun control disguised as concealed carry legislation?”
Constitutional Carry Seeking Cosponsors
The third draft, LRB-2007/1, is a true Constitutional Carry bill, meaning that if you can legally buy and possess a handgun, you can carry it for self-defense. There are no fees, licenses, background checks or criminal databases of gun owners created under this proposal. A deadline of May 9, next Monday, has been set to secure cosponsors for the legislation with formal introduction of the legislation to follow.
The May 9 time line looms just days ahead.
“Coat Tax” Masquerading as Concealed Carry Progress
Concealed handguns are hidden under coats, and politicians somehow see this as an opportunity to squeeze more revenue out of already cash-strapped taxpayers in order to buy more time for their failing economic policies.
In addition to creating a new “gun tax,” an inside source at the Capital close to the Constitutional Carry bill said neoconservatives were using the license-to-carry bills as whipping posts to punish proponents of Constitutional Carry.
“Trying to whip up votes for [Constitutional Carry] got the ‘permit crowd’ started on theirs and you see the results.”
Even the NRA, in a rare but very welcomed candid moment said, “some firearms instructors in the state are promoting a training mandate. These are people who should know better but they too choose to ignore the proven experience in all of these other states. While some are unfortunately motivated by what they see is the potential to profit handsomely, others are simply misinformed. They must understand that citizens are capable of deciding for themselves that attending firearms training is the responsible thing to do.”
Professional concealed carry trainers aren’t the only people who hope to profit if the permit-to-carry bills are pushed into law. State agencies can’t wipe the drool from their mouths fast enough with the prospect of a new influx of license revenues.
According to LRB-2027/1, the permit carry law (if passed) would require “a person who applies for a license to pay a $13 background check fee and an application fee of up to $52 to cover DOJ’s costs in issuing the license. A person who applies to renew his or her license must pay the same background check fee and a renewal fee of up to $27 to cover DOJ’s costs in renewing the license.”
Heavily-laden with new bureaucracy, activists who print out the bill drafts get a shocking visual illustration of government greed run amok as the permit-to-carry draft dwarfs the Constitutional Carry version in sheer size, the former creating more gun control and the latter simply striking Wisconsin’s citizen-disarmament statues.
“It’s interesting to note that the constitutional carry bill is 19 pages,” wrote Nik Clark, Chairman of Wisconsin Carry, Inc. in a recent alert. “The other 2 bills which create a massive amount of new legislation/requirements/fees/fines/permits/registration, etc. are three times as long.
“Freedom really is less complex than more government isn’t it?”
Liberty Groups Irate Over Insulting Permit-to-Carry-May-I-Please? Bill
Both permit-to-carry bills contain provisions for retired law enforcement officers, and seek to “codify” state statues with the federal law enforcement officer’s law, which allows them to carry.
Upending states’ rights in the process, this groveling-at-the-feet-of-the-feds may be welcomed by law officers seeking special treatment, but the fact remains that Constitutional Carry would also restore their right to carry — not because they are law enforcement, but because they are law-abiding citizens with the inalienable right to bear arms.
“A pure Constitutional Carry bill would not require you to beg for permission from the government to carry a firearm, nor require you to spend hundreds on government-mandated, bureaucrat-run training classes to prove to the state you are competent to defend yourself,” said Todd Welch, Interim-State Coordinator for Wisconsin Campaign for Liberty. “In states that require permits and training it can cost into the thousands or dollars to carry a firearm legally. Do we really want to punish low income people like that and have to beg for our 2nd amendment rights from the government?
“Such a bill is the only one we will stand for.”
Public Hearings Scheduled For Next Week
Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Corrections (Hearing on permit bill only)
Thursday, May 12 at 10:30 a.m.
State Capitol Building
Room 417 North
Senate Committee on Judiciary (Hearing on permit and Constitutional Carry bills)
Thursday, May 12 at 12:30 p.m.
UW Marathon County
Center for Civic Engagement
625 Stewart Street Wausau, WI
To ensure our Constitutional Carry bill advances, contact your assembly person and state senator.
Demand that they co-sponsor LRB-11-2007-1, a true Constitutional Concealed Carry bill.
Tell them that support of a bill that requires permits, training, or other fees for concealed carry is unacceptable and will be considered a failure to represent the people, uphold the Constitution, and will not be forgotten in 2012.
About the Author: Corey Graff is the executive director of Wisconsin Gun Owners, Inc. (WGO), a pro-gun activist, and a life-long gun owner from Wisconsin.